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Thread: Bizarre USB Sound Problem

  1. #1

    Default Bizarre USB Sound Problem

    Alright, so I have a USB headset that I really like. I've used it before in OpenSUSE 10.something (It's been almost a year since I used Linux, I left for application compatibility reasons, but have returned thanks to virtualization), and it had worked fine there. However, there is a bizarre problem in OpenSUSE 11.0

    I am able to set it up just fine in YaST, I use the generic USB driver, I can even play the test sound and hear it through the headphones. I can get Skype to recognize it and use it too. However, I cannot seem to set it as the primary sound device. When I do that, I get no sound through the headphones, not even the test sound works. My speakers will still play the sound test, but my headphones will not when I set them as primary. I have even tried rebooting the computer completely to ensure that no soundsystem has been left un-restarted (probably overkill), but to no avail.

    After looking around at some other USB Headphone threads, I'm guessing it might be helpful to post this stuff:

    Output of the tsalsa script

    Output of various commands:

    linux-yatp:/home/ed # cat /etc/modprobe.d/sound
    options snd slots=snd-hda-intel,snd-usb-audio
    # uniq.unknown_key:USB Audio
    alias snd-card-1 snd-usb-audio
    # u1Nb.ip1_3OhmzT3:82801H (ICH8 Family) HD Audio Controller
    alias snd-card-0 snd-hda-intel

    linux-yatp:/home/ed # rpm -qa | grep alsa
    alsa-oss-1.0.15-48.1
    alsa-utils-1.0.16-35.1
    alsa-1.0.16-39.1
    alsa-firmware-1.0.16-24.1
    alsa-plugins-1.0.16-57.1

    rpm -qa | grep pulse returned nothing

    linux-yatp:/home/ed # rpm -q libasound2
    libasound2-1.0.16-39.1

    Headset maker: Plantronics

    Thanks in advance for your help!
    -Ed

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Bizarre USB Sound Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by eddygazilion View Post
    I am able to set it up just fine in YaST, I use the generic USB driver, I can even play the test sound and hear it through the headphones. I can get Skype to recognize it and use it too. However, I cannot seem to set it as the primary sound device. When I do that, I get no sound through the headphones, not even the test sound works.
    I think YaST is the place to look for the solution, but I'll assume you have exhausted all possibilities there to death.

    If it works as a test sound, but not normally as a regular user, then that can be an indication of a permissions problem. Although your discovering it work ok with Skype suggests it is not a permissions problem. Still, you could add yourself to group audio, then log out and log back in of your desktop, and see if that makes a difference: How to fix a permissions problem

    You could also create a custom /home/yourusername/.asoundrc file, and see if that helps. Here is a simple example of such a file:
    Code:
    usb.default
    # usb.default begins ###
    pcm.!default {
    type hw
    card 1
    }
    ctl.!default {
    type hw
    card 1
    }
    # usb.default ends ###
    After creating and saving the ".asoundrc" file, then restart your alsa with rcalsasound restart and test your sound again.

    I notice another user solved this by using the OSS driver, but I think that should not be necessary:
    No USB Sound SUSE 11.0 - openSUSE Forums

  3. #3

    Default Re: Bizarre USB Sound Problem

    I tried the permissions option to no avail, I got the same problems.

    When I put in the .asoundrc file you included and tried the sound test recommended in the wiki, I got some interesting output.

    Code:
    ed@linux-yatp:~> speaker-test -Dplug:front -c2 -l5 -twav
    
    speaker-test 1.0.16
    
    Playback device is plug:front
    Stream parameters are 48000Hz, S16_LE, 2 channels
    WAV file(s)
    ALSA lib conf.c:1589:(snd_config_load1) _toplevel_:3:14:Unexpected char
    ALSA lib conf.c:2850:(snd_config_hook_load) /home/ed/.asoundrc may be old or corrupted: consider to remove or fix it
    ALSA lib conf.c:2714:(snd_config_hooks_call) function snd_config_hook_load returned error: Invalid argument
    ALSA lib conf.c:3079:(snd_config_update_r) hooks failed, removing configuration
    Playback open error: -22,Invalid argument
    The error messages then repeated as long as I kept it running. I'm no ALSA expert, but I think either ALSA is being silly or something might be wrong in the .asoundrc file... If you have any recommendations (i.e. switching versions of ALSA, changing things around more), I'd be glad to hear them.
    Last edited by eddygazilion; 17-Jul-2008 at 17:58. Reason: Set off output as code

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    Default Re: Bizarre USB Sound Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by eddygazilion View Post
    I tried the permissions option to no avail, I got the same problems.
    Please type in a konsole
    id
    and confirm you are a member now of group audio. Did you log out and log back in of KDE to apply the new permissions?

    Quote Originally Posted by eddygazilion View Post
    When I put in the .asoundrc file you included and tried the sound test recommended in the wiki,

    Code:
    ed@linux-yatp:~> speaker-test -Dplug:front -c2 -l5 -twav
    I'm finding that old speaker-test does not work well for openSUSE-11.0, so if you check the wiki, you will see I have updated that speaker test to a new one:
    Code:
    speaker-test -Dplug:front -c2 -l5 -twav
    Quote Originally Posted by eddygazilion View Post
    I got some interesting output.
    speaker-test 1.0.16
    .... ALSA lib conf.c:2850snd_config_hook_load) /home/ed/.asoundrc may be old or corrupted: consider to remove or fix it[/code]
    There are many different .asoundrc files one can try.

    For example, a more simple one for USB is:
    Code:
           pcm.usb-audio {
              type hw
              card 1
           }
           
           ctl.usb-audio {
              type hw
              card 1
           }
    Try that instead, see if it makes any difference.

    There are many other different contents one can try an an .asoundrc file.

    Quote Originally Posted by eddygazilion View Post
    If you have any recommendations (i.e. switching versions of ALSA, changing things around more), I'd be glad to hear them.
    I searched the alsa page, and noted there are some updates to the usb-audio kernel module in alsa 1.0.17 (just recently released): Search results - AlsaProject for usb-audio

    So you could try updating your audio per the opensuse update update page for alsa: Alsa-update - openSUSE-11.0

    And when installing the kernel-driver-kmp be careful to choose the commands that are applicable to your 2.6.25.9-0.2-pae kernel version. Note after updating alsa, you need to reboot.

    I still think yast is the place to carefully examine for a solution.

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    Default Re: Bizarre USB Sound Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by oldcpu View Post
    I'm finding that old speaker-test does not work well for openSUSE-11.0, so if you check the wiki, you will see I have updated that speaker test to a new one:
    Code:
    speaker-test -Dplug:front -c2 -l5 -twav
    Ahh... forget that ... its the same test you tried ....

    Its too early in the morning.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Bizarre USB Sound Problem

    Okay, so I changed the .asoundrc to the new one, I got some more strange output, so I upgraded to the new version of ALSA using the zypper stuff you linked me to ("Zypper?" I haven't heard of that before, has it really only been a year since I've used Linux?).

    I then rebooted to make sure the kernel module loaded, no problems with startup, that's good. I then log into KDE, and I hear the startup sound, but wait a minute... that's not coming out of the speakers, it's coming from over there! My headphones! They live! And thank goodness they aren't on my head, cos they were up all the way!

    Anyway, thanks a lot for the help, listening to some great St. Germain on Pandora thanks to you. You truly are the sound wizard, OldCPU! If you know any ALSA developers or any other people that could do anything about it, I would recommend putting the new version out in the YaST repos, it would probably solve these sorts of things with other newbies more quickly and easily.

    Thanks again!
    -Eddy

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    Default Re: Bizarre USB Sound Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by eddygazilion View Post
    I then rebooted to make sure the kernel module loaded, no problems with startup, that's good. I then log into KDE, and I hear the startup sound, but wait a minute... that's not coming out of the speakers, it's coming from over there! My headphones!
    Great! Congratulations. It makes me think that the update to 1.0.17 of alsa did it. I'm a bit surprised it needed the update, but thats great news and this is good for me to learn.

    Quote Originally Posted by eddygazilion View Post
    I upgraded to the new version of ALSA using the zypper stuff you linked me to ("Zypper?" I haven't heard of that before, has it really only been a year since I've used Linux?).
    zypper was introduced with openSUSE-10.2 (I think) and then updated/improved in 10.3, and enhanced significantly in 11.0. They say it will be even better in 11.1. The software package management associated with zypper is one area where there is a significant continual effort being made by Novell/SuSE-GmbH to improve openSUSE.

    There was a time, when to get the latest alsa, one had to compile themselves. We are lucky that Takashi Iwai (tiwai) and the Novell/SuSE-GmbH team support alsa, and they have implemented a repository where the latest updates can be found. It was that repository that the zypper commands used in updating the alsa.

    I try to support users from other distributions on #alsa, and that support can be very painful when helping Linux users from other distributions, as not all of the other distributions maintain the cutting edge compiled alsa versions that openSUSE maintains. So one ends up trying teach them how to compile, how to ensure they have the correct dependencies in place first to support a successful compile,...etc .... Thankfully we have rpms already built on openSUSE and its not necessary to have to teach that.

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